Monday, 4 November 2013

Friends For Life Germany, Amsterdam, and More

German Tour


“Brian and I just did a radio interview here.”

“Just finished Munich Radio interview with Brian and ready to folk and roll with our German Friends as we kick off the tour here tonight at 8pm.”

“Munich!! Amazing night. What a welcome to Germany. Way too kind. Thanks so much!
On to Berlin tomorrow!!”


“Hello Berlin!”

“Berlin! What an amazing welcome! Loved every second of it! Huge crowd and loud as.....
Very nice to meet our German Sony family afterwards too!
Good times.”


“Frankfurt!! Wow. Really loving Germany. Such a wild audience tonight!!
Massive and loud crowd!
Heading home for 2 days in the morning. Can't wait!!!”


“What a great night in Osnabruck. Mad crowd and totally out to party. Loved it.
Thanks to a very fun audience for making it special.
On to Cologne.”

Photos of the concert from Karsten Rzehak Concert Photography


“About to drive 2 hours to Cologne for the penultimate show of the "Friends for Life" German tour. It's just been the best time so far, and we are looking forward to closing out on a "HIGH".”

“Tonight's Venue in Cologne.”

“Cologne. What can I say!
My favourite German show of the tour. Amazing setting, great great crowd!!
One to remember

Final show in Hamburg tomorrow!”

Photo courtesy and copyright Rainer Keuenhof via

More Rainer Keuenhof Photos from Cologne Show


“Stir crazy on tour bus.”

“Nice to be back in Hamburg. Final show of a very successful tour of Germany!! Looking forward to it. Was a stormer here last year.”


“What a way to finish the German tour!! Hamburg. Incredible volume from you guys. Loved every second of tonight. Thanks so much Germany!!

German Tour Fan Photos

The link is in German. The page has a translation link for Google, but those unable to do that, this is the translation pasted below.

The High Kings - A balancing act between tradition and modernity

4 October 2013 by Andreas Winkelsträter

They are the most popular Irish folk band on stage and play together up to 13 instruments: The High Kings. Here are their own voices with which they sing their own songs as well as the Irish traditionals in perfect harmony, not even counted. SOUND FIELD spoke with Darren Holden about the upcoming tour of Germany and the new album "Friends for Life", the on Friday, 4th October appears.

"The High Kings" have already celebrated great success in Ireland and the United States. How did it all start?

Darren Holden: Back then, we all four got a call today our manager Dave Kavanagh. We knew him because he was also the manager of Clanned: was (note Irish band). And he was with Paul McGuiness in the management of U2 in the early days. Dave had the idea. to create a completely new folk and ballad band in the Celtic tradition for the new millennium. All this for a whole new generation of listeners. I lived at the time in New York, just my four-year commitment to Billy Joel's "The Pianoman" had ended on Broadway. In June 2007, I flew to Ireland to meet. There I also met Brian Dunphy. Brian and I were together in Riverdance on Broadway and have toured together a few years traveling the world. I thought it was wonderful that he was there. Because Dave's idea of the new band was awesome. Finbarr Clancy and Martin Furey are the other two of our quartet.

And then it went off very quickly?

Darren Holden: Yeah, we started very quickly with the samples. We were immediately on the same wavelength - both musically and personally. It felt everything so fresh and new. That was great. Everything was as we would work together for a long time. We wanted to bring nothing stale. Just as the Dubliners, for example, in the 1960s. We wanted something new, and quickly as possible. And in a short time have been able to convince the EMI in Ireland and in the USA by our idea and get a contract. In March 2008, we have then already released our first album.

And you were equally successful ...

Darren Holden: Yeah, that was an incredible success. Thus we have can not be expected. We are entered directly into the U.S. in the world music charts on the 2nd place. We have huge festivals played in front of thousands of people in England and Ireland. And then we decided that it must go on, that we stay together. We want like to expand as long as it is running. And it seems as run all still excellent.

The band's name is "High Kings". Who had the idea and meaning of the name?
Darren Holden: That was our manager. He wanted to celebrate that we are all High Kings in Ireland and strains of royal descent in our country. The High Kings come from all four directions. And Dave picked us also at four different corners of the world. It is basically a name that stands for a lot of power, has many cross-connections to Irish music and culture. We want to maintain the tradition of Irish music despite the changes. And as our name fits perfectly. We are now the new generation of High Kings, the tackle it now and it drives forward.

In Ireland, there are a lot of successful folk band. Was there not a risk to start with something completely new?

Darren Holden: Of course, when you start something like this in Ireland in the folk area, so that a risk is always connected. How far someone is willing to take the risk to each is left to itself. Therefore we were very careful in the beginning, to remove us from the not too far, what the purists want. We were not allowed to break up between us and the many traditional bands the band. But honestly, I can not really properly describe how we the people have welcomed here with open arms here in Ireland. Of course, there is always the risk that certain groups do not like you and you do not welcome as a new ballad group. Because many of the ballads are built on nostalgia and things that have happened in the past. But we could not be happier with all the many positive reactions.

Why the High Kings are just now coming to Germany?

Darren Holden: Last year it was a happy coincidence that we were on a short tour, ten dates in Germany. Over the Internet or even Facebook have figured out the dates the German fans. And, it's hard to believe that all shows were sold out. Completely. We do not know how all this could happen. We started in Berlin. The church was packed to the rafters. And it was even better. Now it is time to release an album of new material in Germany with us.

New album "Friends for Life" from 4 October

On 4 October, the new album "Friends for Life" appears. Can you tell me something about working on the album?
Darren Holden: We decided one and a half years ago, record a new album. And as we were keen for the Irish accordionist Sharon Shannon. With it we went into the studio together. And really, we were not satisfied with our songs that we had there in the studio. And I think I was even's, who simply plays a traditional song, I think "Oh. Maggie, "the first song on our new album. That's what I've been working for some time, because my mother's name is Maggie. And I wanted to write a song with her name. Sharon has fell in love with the song. And then the other three guys came and worked on the harmonies. And very quickly we had arranged our first traditional song. And Sharon wanted more of this kind of music. And we have a lot of material, since we all write. And we have selected the best of the. We have eight of the songs on the album and packed four elderly. So we kept the balance between tradition and modernity.

You are now particularly excited because it is the first album in Germany?

Darren Holden: You're always nervous. But that is always positive for me. The anticipation of Germany outweighs with me. Germany, which is a huge market for us. I look forward to this challenge now for us to expect one of the largest music markets in the world. The other boys. With hard work and Irish luck, we'll make it
"Our fans are friends for life"

The name means "Friends for Life": Do you think that the fans who have heard the High Kings once, be friends for life?

Darren Holden: Most certainly. One hundred per cent. We have many intimate connections with our fans, which we have since our founding, and also to those who are only our followers recently. And many of these contacts have now become friends. We remain as best we can, with all in contact. And with Facebook we've got a whole new dimension. That makes things a lot easier - and the global.

And now you are preparing for the tour in Germany?

Darren Holden: We have already started in Ireland with advertising. In the last week we were in the famous Irish TV show. In Ireland, the album is already on the market. And it is already in the TOP 10 Now we are in the studio and rehearse the new songs for about five days. On 5 October we start the UK tour. And from there it's off to Germany directly. And we are very pleased. We are already really excited.

What will you play in Germany?

Darren Holden: This will be a mix of our three studio albums. We will select two of the older albums, what we consider to be the most famous pieces. And with the pieces of "Friends for Life" we will tinker it a two-hour show. But I can already tell there are also some surprises, songs that are not on the albums. I think that we have a large body with the material from three albums. Most of our German fans know the lyrics of our songs au of the first two albums. And now the challenge is to learn the lyrics of the brand new Album (laughs).

Interview with Darren and Finbarr for

The interview is again in German, but we have the following translation with courtesy of Thomas Loffal. Thanks Thomas.

The High Kings in Interview, TZ Munich

 8th October 2013

Munich - The most popular Folkband of Ireland is playing at the "Freiheizhalle" at October the 16th. Darren Holden and Finbarr Clancy talk about Fan-Love, Passion and the Future.

For all those who still do not know you, would you describe yourself please.

Darren: The High Kings are: Darren Holden, Brian Dunphy, Finbarr Clancy and Martin Furey. We came together 2007, when our Manager Dave Kavanagh presented to us the idea, to join all together to found a brandnew Celtic-Group for the new Millenium. We all knew each other before, but I´d worked together only with Brian Dunphy until then, in New York City for "Riverdance on Broadway". We felt "Good Vibes" from the first moment on. Nevertheless, it was the first time, that we were playing and singing all together as a group and ´t was great luck that audience all over the World loved that and gave us a very warm welcome with wide opened arms.

Finbarr: Additional to that, we´re all children of musicians. I am the son of Bobby Clancy, from the famous folkgroup: The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem. Martin is the son of Finbar Furey, who was member of: The Furey Brothers & Davey Arthur. Brian´s father was Seán Dunphy, who was representing Ireland 1967 at the Eurovision Song Contest and Darrens great-grandfather was a famous piper on the Isle. We can say, music was layed in the cradle for all of us.

And what kind of music is it exactely, that you play as such "natural born" musicians?

Darren: The High Kings revitalized this special kind of classical, traditional music which is so typical for Ireland. While staying very close to the original versions of the songs we grew with the music. Our intention was to let them sound fresher and more modern, to generate interest for this kind of music in a new generation, even by the younger people.

Finbarr: To make it simple: The High Kings are playing so called "Irish Folk" in a modern way and additional to that our Original Songs, written by ourselves, like you can listen on our new album "Friends for Life".

From which side did you get the greatest support and influence at the start of your carreer as a group?

Darren: The irish Entertainment legend Shay Healy was our coach in the beginning. He helped us to get into the history of the songs and the songwriters and he was was it who reminded us at the rich variety of the art and music we would gonna perform all over the world. He was, and still is a valuable benefit for the High Kings. And he has always one or two great jokes in stock!

Finbarr: It´s thanks to Shay that I joined the High Kings. He was the first contacting me when the Band was formed! Thanks to You, Shay!

You had very loyal fans, right from the start of the Group. What was your most impressing experience with them?

Finbarr: Most impressing for me are our friends from Bavaria, Thomas and Karin Loffel. They travelled in the past, parallel to our tours, through Ireland and Germany, and they even came to London when we were showcasing our own new material for our new album. Thomas made straps for our instruments and Karin was baking cakes, cookies and more for us. They are wonderful and we love them! (Thanks Finbarr, you embarrassing us, have a red head, but thanks from the heart!)

It difficult for me, to pick out only one single moment, because we are always thrilled by the enthusiasm and the attention of all our fans - at home, like all over the world. They have little gifts for us, like T-Shirts and Sweets. They invent even a High Kings Beer, that was in Germany again, by the way. Great Thanks to "T&K", in this sense. What I´m trying to say, our fans are the very best reason for us to keep on going every time, because they give us all their appreciation, all the time.

You all together play 13 different instruments. Wow! With such a wide variety, how do you decide which ones you gonna use in your new compositions? And is there a kind of "Basic-Instrument", you usually start with?

Darren: For usual, we know intuitively which instruments harmonize best with the songs. I think, that results on the fact that we know each other quite well musically and we the special way each of us sounds with his instrument. It´s just a little bit crazy, how it does everything by itself, when we work together.

Finbarr: To answer on your second question: I write my songs for usual with an acoustic Guitar, that´s my main instrument. I play Banjo, Bass Guitar and Flute too, but in my eyes, the Guitar is a very versatile insrument, quite handy for composing songs. My own creative process starts normally with a chord sequence and the rhythm, then follows the tune for the singing and finally I do the lyrics. But sometimes I do it the other way, many songwriters start with the lyrics, everybody has it´s own way of doing this.

After your first album you changed from Stage-Acting-Style to a "re-energized folkgroup" (OMG, wonder where he did get these terms?). Where will you see the the High Kings at the next step of evolution?

Darren: I think we did a lot for revival of the comecial Irish Folk Music - in Ireland, in the USA and beyond. But we worked as well bringin in our own special style into this genre. Doin so, since we have already achieved a lot. With our new album "Friends for Life" we extended the limits again, by recording eight original-songs. I think we simply needed and wanted that, to set targets on a high level in within Irish Folk Music. The results, in our eyes, are very promising and encouraging.

Finbarr: That´s right, I´m the same opinion, that the next step is the way of the original-songs. "Friends for Life" is our first step into this direction. We had a lot of fun to work on our own compositions. Every single step on the songs - the thinking up, the arrangement, the recording and mixing - that´s all very satisfying and worthwhile. I think it was only a question of time to release our own compositions, cause all four of us are song-writers.

Considering this development: Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?

Finbarr: That´s easy! We would like to see ourselves as an established institution of music in Europe, the USA, Australia and at every place where the people would love to listen to our music! I wish to have so much fun further on and to bring new and innovative music to a fan base, interested in it.


“Just back from a great workout at "Fitness for Free" in Amsterdam. Love this city and so happy to be back once again. Getting ready to head out on the town with the lads and crew for a few cups of tea and cookies. : )”


“Just spent the day wandering around this amazing city. What a great place to get lost in. Loved it. Final show of the tour tonight, and what a tour its been. Amsterdam, thanks for having us. We'll be back. : )”

“Out of all the shows we have done in 5 years, never have I encountered a wilder, louder crowd for a HK show. Couldn't have prayed for a better finish to the European tour. Thanks Amsterdam.
Homeward Bound.”

Good Times!

“Got a private Gig with The High Kings this evening, but hoping it finishes in time so I can stop over to the O2 to see my old Boss Billy in concert!”

“Cool private High Kings event at Google offices.”

“Hanging' backstage with my old gang!
Good times!”

“Hanging with the band and loving the reminiscing!!
Way too good a time tonight. Face sore from laughing!
I miss these guys so much!
Billy was beyond amazing!!
Great great times!!!”

Other Status Updates From Darren

“Friends for life is up 2 places this week from 13 to 11 in the Irish Top 30 album chart.”

“Unreal!! We are up to number 10 in the Irish Top 30!!
That's 4 weeks in a row in the top 15. Amazing!!
Thanks everyone.”

“Wow. "Live in Ireland" has re-entered the Top 40 albums at number 37. Not bad for a 3 year old record. "Friends for Life" 6 weeks in Top 20 at number 13.”

“Lou Reed has taken a final walk to the Wild side. RIP”

“Having just finished a lovely tour of the UK, I would like to offer prayers and well wishes to all those bereaved or affected by the terrible storms over there. Stay safe if you all can. RIP Donal Drohan.”

“About to head to Tyrone for a festival appearance tonight with THK. Tomorrow morning we fly to New York City for a very special private set, followed by a full show at The Mc Kittrick Hotel for Sony Music and 200 friends and fans that snapped up the limited number of tickets available. : )”

“Unreal night in Fintona Co Tyrone. Look up wild in the dictionary and you'll see a pic of this place!!! Crazy!!
On to NYC”


For all news, photos, and video, from the UK tour plus Irish Radio Promo.

That's all the news for now, we will be back with updates from the New York City show and other news as soon as we have it

Thanks for your continued support

Darren and the DH Team

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